Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Case For Raising Worms

I wanted to do an extra article for the month of January, so I decided to address the issue of having worms help your garden. One of the best forms of fertilizer is worm castings. The castings are what are left behind after it passes through the body of the worm! Enough said on that!

What one needs to consider is raising worms. It is an easy process to do. They will live in a small bin, eat your organic garbage, and make the best fertilizer around. If done correctly, you won’t even smell them!

You will need a bin of some sort for them to live in. I use plastic storage containers, like you keep Christmas stuff in! Don’t get the clear ones; the worms do not mind the dark. You will need to make some holes for air. Cover the holes with screen, so nothing gets in or out. You can add a hose spigot near the bottom of the bin to take advantage of worm tea. Worm tea is even better than compost tea for your plants. All you have to do is add a cup or two to a large watering can and fill the rest with water. You can then water your plants as you would normally.

Bedding will also need to be added to the bin. We use shredded newspaper, because we read the paper all the time, and it is a great way to recycle. Some dirt needs to go in as well. I like to use some potting soil, mixed with my backyard dirt. The Ozarks soil is very hard and rocky, full of class. Not the best soil in the world, even for an old Celtic gardener! The soil will provide the grit needed by the worms to digest food matter.

Red wiggler worms are the worms of choice. Don’t use worms from your backyard. Find a good dealer online and purchase your worms. Rule of thumb: for every pound of garbage you put in per day, you need to have two pounds of worms to do the work.

Feed your worms plant matter: vegetables, rotten fruit,egg shells. No meat, artificial anything! You also need to keep the paper/vegetable matter moist. I recommend using a spray bottle, so you don’t water log the soil and drown your worms!

Check your bin everyday to ensure that you get off to a good start. Keep the bedding moist and the bin should stay in a spot that's about 60 to 70 degrees. Leaving the bin outside in the summer sun is a good way to cook all of your worms. And remember if the worm bin starts to smell, then you probably need more bedding.

Get your bin started now, and you will reap the benefits of their work all summer. Here’s to your Celtic Ozark Garden!

Ray Province

Ray and Robin Province are the owners of The Celtic Ozarkian website, dedicated to issues surrounding life in the Ozarks. You can find us at: http://ping.fm/W0mRn
Ray is currently an IT programmer in the healthcare industry, and freelances in SEO and website development. Robin is a semi retired ICU nurse who now works in coding and compliance in the healthcare industry.

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